Friday, September 24, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

European Union USB-C Mandate

Tom Warren (tweet, Hacker News):

The European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, has announced plans to force smartphone and other electronics manufacturers to fit a common USB-C charging port on their devices. The proposal is likely to have the biggest impact on Apple, which continues to use its proprietary Lightning connector rather than the USB-C connector adopted by most of its competitors. The rules are intended to cut down on electronic waste by allowing people to re-use existing chargers and cables when they buy new electronics.

In addition to phones, the rules will apply to other devices like tablets, headphones, portable speakers, videogame consoles, and cameras.

[…]

Efforts to get smartphone manufacturers to use the same charging standard in the EU date back to at least 2009, when Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Nokia signed a voluntary agreement to use a common standard. In the following years, the industry gradually adopted Micro USB and, more recently, USB-C as a common charging port. However, despite reducing the amount of charging standards from over 30 down to just three (Micro USB, USB-C, and Lightning), regulators have said this voluntary approach has fallen short of its objectives.

Apple was a notable outlier in that it never included a Micro USB port on its phones directly. Instead, it offered a Micro USB to 30-pin adapter.

I think Apple is right that mandating a connector will stifle innovation. And I think that, in isolation, Lightning is a better connector than USB-C. However, it’s annoying that I have to carry multiple cables and adapters because, even with exclusively up-to-date Apple gear, my iPhone and AirPods don’t use the same connector as my MacBook Pro and iPad.

Hartley Charlton:

The directive now needs to be greenlit by the EU Parliament and national governments, who may suggest amendments, before it can come into law. The European Commission hopes that this will occur in 2022. From that point, companies will have two years to transition to USB-C on their devices.

Steve Troughton-Smith:

As somebody with an iPhone, iPad, and Kindle on his bedside table, all with different, incompatible, ports, I’m 1,000% behind standardizing on USB-C for everything. Apple had the chance to push the Lightning connector as standard for USB-C; maybe they’ll reconsider that next time

See also: Dithering.

Previously:

Update (2021-10-20): Peter Maurer:

Why am I in favor of the USB-C mandate for phones and other small devices?

There are two upsides, in my opinion: Standardization means fewer cables, which benefits the environment. The second upside is that this also makes life easier by reducing the number of cables we have to carry around.

John Gruber:

Gartenberg summarizes a commonly-held theory here: that Apple is sticking with its proprietary Lightning port on iPhones because they profit from MFi peripherals. That it’s a money grab.

I don’t think this is the case at all.

[…]

My theory is that Apple carefully weighs the pros and cons for each port on each device it makes, and chooses the technologies for those ports that it thinks makes for the best product for the most people.

[…]

Now, I know what you, someone reading Daring Fireball, might be thinking — I own dozens of USB-C cables already — because you own other products, perhaps several from Apple itself, that do use USB-C. But that’s not true for most iPhone owners around the world. They have Lightning chargers in their kitchens, cars, purses, backpacks, and bedrooms. All things considered, they do not want to replace any of them, let alone all of them.

Nick Heer:

I think this also helps explain why Apple’s “Magic” accessories — keyboard, mouse, and trackpad — and the Siri Remote continue to use Lightning. Lots of people have lots of Lightning cables laying around.

32 Comments

it's easy to understand why this law has a big potential to stifle innovation when you imagine it was enacted 10 years ago. It would delay the emergence of USB-C, MagSafe and PD etc.

Having one compatible connector for most of my devices (camera and headphones excluded) is bliss.

I can charge my laptop, and phone with the kids switch charger or the eldest Chromebook charger, or my wife's headphone charger.

The iPad is a constant PITA.

One connector for all the things beats magsafe in my (Mac)book.

But, picking one tech and enshrining that in law IS a really bad idea.

>I think Apple is right that mandating a connector will stifle innovation.

Yup.

>it's easy to understand why this law has a big potential to stifle innovation when you imagine it was enacted 10 years ago. It would delay the emergence of USB-C, MagSafe and PD etc.

Exactly. The EU _did_ start proposing this sort of thing around 2009, and we would've ended up in a situation where phones would be stuck on micro-USB for years. Not great. When it takes at least thirteen years to even get this passed, how quick do you think the EU will be at transitioning to the next connector?

Christina Warren also makes a great point: if this had happened to laptops in the early 2000s, we would've never seen MagSafe.

>However, it’s annoying that I have to carry multiple cables and adapters because, even with exclusively up-to-date Apple gear, my iPhone and AirPods don’t use the same connector as my MacBook Pro and iPad.

True. It does reduce the likelihood that whatever cable I randomly find in the office is the one I need right now.

But is "make consumer life less annoying" really part of the EU Commission's mandate?

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, of course, but yes, do it. The industry at large shows no interest in reducing e-waste through interoperability, neither for consumer welfare, so it will have to be regulated. Of course standardising on one particular connector would be unwise--the regulation should allow flexibility--but it neither prevents innovation nor forbids alternative connectors, even including the use of adaptors. This is simply the realisation of an inevitable shift towards flexibility and choice for everyday consumers (instead of cults of corporations).

Kevin Schumacher

“an inevitable shift towards flexibility and choice for everyday consumers” as you endorse codifying a complete lack of flexibility and choice. Are you high?

I actually don't see what the problem would be if an iPhone had multiple ports. A MacBook has multiple ports. My digital camera has multiple ports. What exactly is lost by adding more ports to an iPhone, other than a certain aesthetic quality? But iPhones are not primarily aesthetic objects, they are tools. Adding capabilities to computers is generally seen as a good thing.

I mean, Jony Ive doesn't even work there anymore. It's okay to let this one go!

@ Sebby: I don't really see how forcing me to throw Lightning cables away and get new USB-C cables reduces waste.

@ Moonlight:

* because that makes it internally much more complex with little benefit. Also, yes, a MacBook has multiple ports, but it doesn't have both USB-C and Lightning ports.
* because the usability would be infuriating. Enjoy those nights where you fumble and try to find the right charging port. It would essentially negate the huge benefit both USB-C and Lightning have: that you can stick the cable in either way and it'll work.

It's a small price to pay for less environmental damage. Ideally companies would agree certain standards were sufficient (like CDs or DVDs), but they seem to have given up on standardization.

The Lightning port and connector is a great design. It’s too bad Apple never opened the design up to third parties or evolved the design so it could support Thunderbolt or even USB-C levels of data throughput.

I don’t really understand the point. In my experience, almost every charger that has come with a device in the past 10 years has a USB-A port, which can be any other flavor of USB on the other end depending what cable you buy.

And most devices I’ve bought in the past 3 years don’t even come with a charger. I can’t remember the last time I threw away a USB charger or cable, unless it was broken. If I sell a device, the charger goes with it.

If anything, the mandate should be that all chargers are full spec (3A? I can’t remember) so that any charger works with any device. It IS annoying that I have some low power chargers that can’t, for example, charge an iPad. But who cares what the device end port is? Cables all eventually fail anyway.

@Sören:

I'm not sure that judging a Lightning + USB-C iPhone based on increases to the phone's internal complexity is really being fair, or at least not applying that standard fairly. There are probably lots of features Apple themselves have built into their products that added roughly the same level of benefit as USB-C but did so at the cost of internal complexity that were definitely not received with the level of hostility as this hypothetical multi-port-type iPhone. For example, MagSafe charging, or multiple camera lenses, or a lidar scanner. Even if these don't provide a great deal of benefit, I don't remember inordinate outrage about their internal complexity burden (other than maybe some complaints about a "camera bump").

Though while we are performing a kind of calculus of "benefit," it occurs to me that my (and probably others') first instinct is to compare iPhone-with-USB-C vs. iPhone-with-Lightning.
People who like Lightning a lot, and there are good reasons to, feel like they'd be getting a downgrade. But maybe this instinct is backwards, or at least not how the European Commission seems to look at it. They seem to be comparing "iPhone that supports the universal charging standard" vs "iPhone that supports the universal charging standard _and also supports Lightning_." And in _that_ comparison, what does Lightning bring to the table, really? It's thinner? It has a clickier feel? Forgive this metaphor, but if Apple wants to hitch its wagon to the innovation horse, it is going to have to do better than that.

And as far as usability goes, honestly, that feels like Apple's job to solve. A naively implemented Lightning/USB-C phone could cause some fumbling about in the night. But maybe (and these are just ideas) one of the ports could go on the side, or there could be a little door that closes over the ports so Lightning connoisseurs can just close the USB-C port and not accidentally plug anything into it. I admit these are probably not good ideas, but even Apple is not above implementing not-good ideas. And I'm now remembering that modern iPads (which, alas, I don't own any of) were given a USB-C port without keeping the Lightning around. And now I wonder if people would've liked the additional port? I don't remember if there was a lot of Discourse around it, or at least a few people here and there wanting the old port back who could've been satisfied by the type of double port solution I'm imagining here.

@Chris Yes, it seems like Apple dropped the ball by not trying to make Lightning a standard and not evolving it to meet the needs of its own products (e.g. transferring ProRes video from iPhones).

@Ben Apple is shipping a lot of USB-C chargers these days. When carrying multiple devices, it’s simpler if the same connector is on both ends. I want to use the same charger for my MacBook Pro and iPad, and I want to be able to plug my phone or AirPods into both that charger or the MacBook Pro.

Have Apple ever mentioned why they're sticking with the lightning for the iPhone?

"we would've ended up in a situation where phones would be stuck on micro-USB for years"

We can't exactly test that, but it's probably not true. The directly has a specific article allowing the commission to update the specification, if any future harmonized industry standards are developed. We can't exactly predict the past's future, but I don't see any reason why this wouldn't just have been updated for USB-C.

But in general, I find the "this kills innovation" argument not very compelling. We've had the lightning cable for a decade now. It's not exactly an area that has (or requires) blistering speeds of innovation. In fact, I hate it that there is a new USB plug every few years - if this stops that, all the better. If we can stick to USB-C until cables are no longer needed, that's just fine with me. I don't need five other "innovations" filling up my cable bins.

> There are probably lots of features Apple themselves have built into their products that added roughly the same level of benefit as USB-C but did so at the cost of internal complexity

Like what? Apple infamously removed the headphone jack (and others have followed suit), because doing so reduces complexity. It makes it easier to make the device water-resistant, it frees up a lot of internal space, and it removes the need for a DAC (except for the speaker, which by my understanding has a much lesser DAC).

Apple does this sort of thing all the time, arguably to a fault, like only providing USB-C (y'know, the port we're discussing) on their recent MacBook line-up. They overshot a little on that, IMHO, but the general trajectory is clear.

>For example, MagSafe charging, or multiple camera lenses, or a lidar scanner.

But those provide huge benefits. The only benefit USB-C charging really provides is that you may already have a USB-C cable lying around. I've been in situations where I've had one cable on my desk and not the other, so it is a real scenario, but I find it a bit contrived. Are we banning spoons lest people only have forks and knives on their kitchen table?

> Even if these don't provide a great deal of benefit, I don't remember inordinate outrage about their internal complexity burden (other than maybe some complaints about a "camera bump").

Multiple camera lenses provide a massive benefit; they're at this point one of the key reasons people upgrade their phones at all. MagSafe, or inductive charging in general, I'm personally not particularly into. Never tried.

LiDAR is arguably a good candidate for "not a great deal of benefit", yes, but it's also currently a pro-only feature. So Apple doesn't think it's that beneficial for the mainstream just yet. I imagine the killer apps are yet to come.

What's the killer app for adding a USB-C port in addition to a Lightning port? If the EC wants to make the argument that it's directly connecting USB flash drives, sure, but they aren't making that argument. They're focused entirely on charging.

As for the camera bump: that does annoy me. This is a rare case where Apple made a deliberate choice to make their design worse (in aesthetics and haptics; try lying an iPhone flat on a table) for the sake of much improved camera optics. Personally, I'd much rather they just make it thicker, or at least make the camera turret wider so that it doesn't wobble to one corner.

>And in _that_ comparison, what does Lightning bring to the table, really? It's thinner? It has a clickier feel? Forgive this metaphor, but if Apple wants to hitch its wagon to the innovation horse, it is going to have to do better than that.

The key part it brings is that it's already there, and moving to something different breaks a lot of compatibility with the nightstands, car adapters, etc. that people have bought in the past decade.

If they started from scratch, I'm not sure Apple would bother designing Lightning again.

> there could be a little door that closes over the ports so Lightning connoisseurs can just close the USB-C port and not accidentally plug anything into it

I think you're vastly overestimating how much internal room there is. A physical mechanism is completely out of the question without making the device a lot thicker, and, again, for what?

>@Chris Yes, it seems like Apple dropped the ball by not trying to make Lightning a standard and not evolving it to meet the needs of its own products.

Agreed.

Suddenly it dawned on me. The Golden WIN/WIN solution everyone will love.

The EU enforce USB-C on all devices, and commit to not change that rule for three years.

Perfect.

Wait, everyone knows this was already a thing right? And the sky did not fall? The EU did mandate micro USB for mobile phones back in 2009 and it didn't stifle anything.

Technically, Micro USB could support charging, video out (MHL and similar), and data support (both device and even host through USB OTG). It worked well and it didn't actually preclude including other ports for additional features. My Nokia N8 had a headphone jack (pretty sure with video out support), mini HDMI (that's right mini HDMI, not micro), and micro USB, in addition to the standard Nokia charging port -- all back in 2012 (phone originally released in 2010 to be fair). The N8 was far smaller than the current behemoths being flogged by Apple et al, the current manufacturers are simply lazy. Believe me I have owned many different brands of smart phones and tablets, there is enough blame to spread around.

USB C is such a flexible port, to pretend it will stifle innovation to support it when USB C can technically support almost any use case is just nonsense. USB C can do audio, video, data, fairly high powered devices, and even Thunderbolt (PCI bus) etc. I have some USB C devices that support USB 3.2 speeds and some that are stuck on USB 2.0. Some support video out, some do not. The port is fine. Apple likes it for everything else besides the iPhone, why are people even complaining about it?

Look, the biggest issue with USB C is the fact that is supports so many different use cases that it has become impossible telling what features is supported on any given device with a mere glance. I have no concept why people are gnashing their teeth about it other than they backed the wrong horse. Hey, it happens, I used betamax, minidiscs, FireWire, etc.

@Nathan This mandate is apparently different and cannot be satisfied by including an adapter.

@Sören: To take a small step back, I think my point about the benefits/tradeoffs of various hardware components of the iPhone is that it's not that hard to concoct a hypothetical scenario where something added to an iPhone is a downside. In the same way that a second port on the phone is annoying for someone fumbling around in the night to plug in their power cord, two camera is annoying for someone who, for example, never uses their phone to take pictures (rare as they might be). I guess I just find it interesting that the two-port solution is considered ridiculous as a matter of course (at least by one blogger) whereas many other, IMO similar, things are given a more nuanced consideration in The Discourse. There are probably reasons for this but I'll decline to speculate.

I do think you're probably right about the "space budget" of phones being particularly small. I guess I'll dig my hole deeper a little bit to say that the dual port Lightning & USB-C phone is unlikely to happen but the possibly more likely (or at least more realistic) scenario is maybe that in a year or two (or more) Apple "innovates" a new port/cable that is needed for some other thing. Maybe there's some way to use the iPhone as an accessory to some forthcoming set of Apple VR goggles that requires a kind of ultra-high throughput cable to attach it to them.

And in this instance, if Apple were required by law to have their special, new, proprietary port coexist on the same phone with the standardized charging port that had widespread adoption (be it Lightning _or_ USB-C), I don't think I would mind. I also understand that others do not feel the same way about this.

Kevin Schumacher

> I have no concept why people are gnashing their teeth about it other than they backed the wrong horse.

You mean the horse that wasn't even born until two years after the Lightning port shipped? Not to mention that was when the spec was finalized, not when shipping devices actually appeared. And the first mass-market computing device with a USB-C port was a MacBook in spring of 2015. How do you like them Apples?

You want to think there's no issue with the EU mandate, fine. But the majority of your post is either factually incorrect or just disgusting condescension, so try making an actual argument that doesn't rely on calling billions of people morons or making shit up.

@Kevin Schumacher
Micro USB predates Lightning though? The first devices had to have been out by late 2009 or so, yeah? Apple was actually supposed to support micro USB but somehow had an exemption carved out to use adapters. They waited three years, switched to Lightning and shipped their phones with Lightning to micro USB adapters.

Why is it condescending to note that people gnashing their teeth happily switched from the old 30 pin to Lightning without much complaint but for some reason are refusing to make a similar change 9 years later? What advantages has Lightning offered since USB C devices started shipping in 2015? Really the only advantage to consumers over even micro USB was the fact Lightning was reversible.

I honestly doubt people are buying iPhones solely for access to the Lightning cable, after all they used to buy iPhones that had clunky proprietary 30 pin ports and iPads have successfully made the switch to USB C already. Are recent iPad owners upset their devices no longer come with Lightning ports?

Here's a better question, why would Apple want to continue shipping separate chargers for laptops/iPads and their phones. Seems like an easy decision to simply switch over everything to the same standard. Other than the loss of licensing fees of course, which I am increasingly wondering is the actual sticking point.

People really do not remember what it was like when every single phone/mobile device came with their own proprietary cable? One thing I always liked about the Sony Playstation, well, at least the PS1, PS2, and PS3 (I believe PS4 and PS5 as well, but I do not own either) was the power cable is a standard power cable.

Kevin Schumacher

> Micro USB predates Lightning though?

microUSB is not the standard at issue here, so what does it have to do with anything? You said people "backed the wrong horse" in the USB-C versus Lightning debate. They couldn't have backed USB-C in 2012 even if they wanted to.

As for why Lightning was introduced when microUSB already existed, it's pretty simple. https://web.archive.org/web/20210301033354/http://brockerhoff.net/blog/2012/09/13/boom-2/

> Apple was actually supposed to support micro USB but somehow had an exemption carved out to use adapters.

You make it sound as though Apple held a gun to somebody's head to apply an exemption only for Apple. It was available to anybody shipping a device that was covered by the mandate. Apple wanted it, of course, but that doesn't mean they got a special favor as you're heavily implying.

https://www.engadget.com/2011-02-09-european-unions-one-charger-for-all-starts-sampling.html

And for the record, Lightning to USB-C cables already exist, as do Lightning to USB-C adapters. The part that matters, the expensive part, the charging block that plugs into the wall, is already standardized on USB-C.

> Why is it condescending to note that people gnashing their teeth happily switched from the old 30 pin to Lightning without much complaint

Speaking of making stuff up…People were f'ing pissed as hell when they switched from 30 pin to Lightning.

> What advantages has Lightning offered since USB C devices started shipping in 2015?

You mean besides not forcing people to buy new cables again three years after they had to do so for the switch to Lightning?

> I honestly doubt people are buying iPhones solely for access to the Lightning cable

That doesn't even make any sense, but regardless, literally nobody said that.

> Are recent iPad owners upset their devices no longer come with Lightning ports?

To some degree, yes, because of the requirement to obtain new cables. But that is blunted because the switch enabled additional peripherals that weren't possible with the existing Lightning cables. There is no similar carrot involved in switching iPhones over. People don't hook their iPhones up to external monitors to use them as computers.

> Seems like an easy decision to simply switch over everything to the same standard.

Yes, it's definitely an easy decision to tell your customers to go f themselves and buy all new cables. Apple doesn't want to transition iPhone to USB-C because they want to jump straight to completely wireless when they make the next transition. And this mandate doesn't even allow that. It requires the phone to have a USB-C port, even if it also has wireless data transfer and charging.

> People really do not remember what it was like when every single phone/mobile device came with their own proprietary cable?

That is not the situation we are in today, not even remotely.

"People were f'ing pissed as hell when they switched from 30 pin to Lightning."

Because they had tons of devices that stopped working with their new phones. This isn't really the case with switching to USB-C. Most devices you'd have used a 30-pin connector for back then are now wireless.

Also, I doubt there are lots of people who don't already have USB-C cables in their homes, so it's not even like most people have to buy new chargers if iPhones switch to USB-C. A lot of iPhone users already have *more* USB-C chargers and cables than lightning ones. Usually, people have one iPhone, but plenty of other devices with USB plugs.

"People don't hook their iPhones up to external monitors to use them as computers."

Well, iPhones users don't, that's true. Because they can't.

"they want to jump straight to completely wireless when they make the next transition. And this mandate doesn't even allow that"

Which is, I hope we all agree, a good thing, right?

Kevin Schumacher

> Well, iPhones users don't, that's true. Because they can't.

No, they can with at least two different adapters that Apple sells. But the point remains that people don't do it, despite the fact the capability technically exists.

> Which is, I hope we all agree, a good thing, right?

According to whom? You'd rather stay tethered for the rest of time? Granted, wireless charging is inefficient at this point. But just as with any new power technology, it's evolving over time. I would rather not have a short-lived forced jump to another type of cord when we hopefully won't need cords at all for phones by the end of this decade.

"No, they can with at least two different adapters that Apple sells"

They really can't, because connecting an iPhone to an external monitor does nothing useful.

"You'd rather stay tethered for the rest of time?"

I'm not sure if I understand what you're saying. Are you saying that wireless charging is *impossible* if wired charging is possible?

"Wireless" charging is a misnomer. It's still connected to a cable. What is the difference between laying it on a charger vs plugging in a Lightning cable? Other than 1) Qi charges slower and 2) You have to really make sure it's lined up to charge properly 3) You cannot use the phone while it's charging and 4) It costs a lot more. I've personally never understood the point of Qi, as there's really no clear benefit at all. Great for my toothbrush, sucks for an iPhone.

I agree, not seeing why phones cannot be wireless charging capable in addition to the much superior cable charger (charges faster and wastes less energy).

Also, to clarify my point about micro USB. The previous standard was micro USB, yet that did not stifle innovation as the USB C standard was still created and companies were allowed to sell phones with the new charger standard while the EU worked on an update to the existing one. This whole debate is trending a little silly given the market did not fail with the past standard. If you think the new one is too draconian, that's fine, but the last mandate with micro USB was actually quite successful.

I'm still mildly frustrated that Sony never updated the PS3 controllers to use micro USB given the system was on sale into 2015 or possible even early 2016. My newest controllers have mini USB just like the original 2006 PS3 controllers. My older Sansa Clips also are stuck on mini USB (which makes more sense given they are actually much older devices and new Sansa players long since switched to micro USB). Otherwise, most of my current devices are micro USB or USB C. I actually got rid of all my older iOS and iPod gear back in 2013ish so I would not have to deal with the older 30 pin cables anymore. I suppose the 3DS XL is also still stupidly proprietary and didn't really need to be given it was not released until 2011. Let's not talk about my one arcade stick controller that uses USB A to USB A for charging and wired mode (less latency than the Bluetooth mode). It's just weird.

Also, tech tidbit, anyone remember micro USB A devices? The connector was rectangle and cross compatible with micro USB B cables. Which meant micro USB A devices could us A or B cable, but a micro USB A cable could not physically fit a micro USB B device.

Speaking of micro USB A, someone uploaded an image of the male connection on Wikipedia. I owned that exact adapter, it shipped with my older Nokia smartphone. I think it was the Nokia N8. I actually owned several different Nokia smartphones and rather miss them, but pretty sure the Nokia N8 shipped with the USB OTG adapter and a mini HDMI cable in the box. In addition to the standard Nokia charger.

> My Nokia N8 had a headphone jack (pretty sure with video out support), mini HDMI (that's right mini HDMI, not micro), and micro USB, in addition to the standard Nokia charging port -- all back in 2012 (phone originally released in 2010 to be fair).

Nobody is saying that Apple couldn't add more ports. They're saying they won't.

> The N8 was far smaller than the current behemoths being flogged by Apple et al, the current manufacturers are simply lazy.

Er. The N8 was shorter and narrower, yes, but it also only had a 3.5-inch screen. The amount of bezel it had would, to put it mildly, not be very popular today. It was also 69% thicker than an iPhone 13 mini, and only 4% lighter, even though it had half(!) the battery capacity, at 1200 mAh vs. 2406. So you're technically right that it was "far smaller", but who wants to go back to that kind of screen?

The manufacturers are lazy on what, exactly? If you've looked at any iFixit teardown, if anything, the manufacturers are being slightly too clever these days trying to jam all those components in. I wish they were a little "lazier" and used more reusable ways to attach components, such as screws, but at the space constraints, that's simply impractical. Good luck cramming more stuff in. There simply isn't room.

Not posting this with any kind of particular point in mind, I just think it's humorously coincidental, but today a recommendation popped up for me on YouTube for this review of a "gaming phone" that actually does have two (USB-C) ports on it. And a fairly positive review, at that!

Again, not trying to say that this is what I was talking about upthread or that Apple could/should do something like this, just funny to me to see the thumbnail of a phone with two cords going in after thinking about that idea recently. I truly had no idea such things were real.

> What is the difference between laying it on a charger vs plugging in a Lightning cable?
> Other than 1) Qi charges slower
fast charging kills your battery faster. Slow charging improves battery life. My phone is charged at night, so I don't care if it takes 1 hour or 3.

> and 2) You have to really make sure it's lined up to charge properly
my iPhone emits a notification sound when put down correctly. In >80% I hit that on the first try, otherwise I try again.

> 3) You cannot use the phone while it's charging
I don't use my phone while sleeping. anyway...

> and 4) It costs a lot more.
Chargers from eBay for 3 bucks work fine. Don't forget to buy a micro USB cable...

>I've personally never understood the point of Qi, as there's really no clear benefit at all.
>Great for my toothbrush, sucks for an iPhone.
The biggest benefit is actually the same: you can put the device on the charger with one hand, blindly, because you know where it is. You don't have to look for the end of the cable under the bed and then still need a second hand to plug it in. Just reach over to the bedside table, drop the phone at the usual place and hear the familiar chime. This alone is worth it...

@Marc Another benefit is that Qi is universal. You can charge both USB-C and Lightning-based devices on the same pad.

Stay up-to-date by subscribing to the Comments RSS Feed for this post.

Leave a Comment